American factory boss Chip Starnes, 42, a co-owner of the Florida-based Coral Springs said Monday he has been held hostage by workers for four days at his medical supply plant in Beijing following the decision to make 30 staff redundant.
American factory boss Chip Starnes, 42, a co-owner of the Florida-based Coral Springs said Monday he has been held hostage for four days at his medical supply plant in Beijing by workers following the decision to make 30 co-workers redundant.
Remaining workers are demanding similar payments to those who have lost their jobs despite that the remaining 100 workers are not being laid off.
The workers at the 10-year-old plant on the capital’s outskirts were expecting wire transfers by Tuesday, he said, adding that about 80 of them had been blocking every exit around the clock and depriving him of sleep by shining bright lights and banging on windows of his office. He declined to clarify the amount, saying he wanted to keep it confidential.
“I feel like a trapped animal,” Starnes told The Associated Press on Monday from his first-floor office window, while holding onto the window’s bars. “I think it’s inhumane what is going on right now. I have been in this area for 10 years and created a lot of jobs and I would never have thought in my wildest imagination something like this would happen.”
Workers inside the compound have reportedly repeatedly declined requests for comment, saying they did not want to talk to foreign media.
It is not rare in China for managers to be held by workers demanding back pay or other benefits, often from their Chinese owners, though occasionally also involving foreign bosses.
The labor action reflects growing uneasiness among workers about their jobs amid China’s slowing economic growth and the sense that growing labor costs make the country less attractive for some foreign-owned factories.